Sunday, 14 September 2014

SOTA Activation Spring Hill

Spring Hill, VK2/ST-036 is located just North of Canberra, is a hang gliding/paragliding site and has been activated several times before by local SOTA activators. Figured it was my turn.

The hill is on private property, so needed to call the landholder, Phil Robinson first. He allows access for hang gliding and paragliding and is one himself, his mobile number is on the HGFA website

After giving Phil a call the day before was good to go. Drove out of Canberra on the Barton Highway heading towards Yass, turned off onto Nanima Road and drove to the property gate.  Parked in a private car park. Spring Hill towers visible on the ridge.

There is a sign here warning that this is a private road and approval is required to enter.

Phil has asked me to SMS him when I arrived. I did so, then he came running down the road.. As it turned out not to see me but to catch up with some stray cows! I said hello and left him to it, proceeded up the road, passing a farm and a small dam.

The road bends up to the left and climbs steeply up to the ridge with the summit.

Got quite steep on the final climb onto the ridge, and the road was rough, definitely 4WD only. Got passed by a few vehicles heading up to paraglide. I could see why, once on top of the ridge the wind, which was a gentle breeze below, was blowing hard!

Finally reached the top. Usual NSW style trig on top, white post with a black lollypop on top.

Views were fantastic! Looking South towards Canberra. One Tree Hill, VK1/AC-35 on the right.

Close up of the trig nameplate, "Spring"

Nearby a communication tower with lots of antennas. These didn't worry me on any bands. This is where the hang gliders/paragliders park and set up to launch.

Set up the squid pole on the trig and laid out the linked 20/40 m dipole, Jpole ribbon for 2 m attached to the top of the pole.

One dipole leg tied to a rock. A paraglider can be seen on the left, just above the horizon.

The other leg tied to a pole used for a wind sock. Wind bent things over a bit but held up.

Set up the SOTA shack just behind the trig, trying to get out of the constant wind...Sat on the tarp and mouse mat.

Got on 40 m at 23:50 z, so able to work a few before UTC rollover. Started with a S2S with Scott VK2SWD on VK2/SM-007 Mt Perisher with good signals. Worked Matt VK1MA who advised me Andrew VK1NAM was on 146.5 FM after a S2S, switched to 2 m and worked him on VK2/ST-010, Mt Foxlow with a good signal. Also worked Matt VK1MA and Andrew VK2MWP with good signals.

After UTC returned to 40 m to work the usual chasers, all with strong signals. More S2Ss with Nigel on VK5/SE-013 Mt Barker, Peter VK3PF on VK3/VT-016 Mt Useful.

After 40 m died off switched to 20 m. Found Andrew VK1NAM calling, but not many replying. I stayed on his frequency and worked VK6BMM/2 near Tweed Heads, VK5WG and VK5FO.

Returned to 40 m to grab 2 more S2Ss with Mark VK2WU on VK3/VE-126 Mt Stanley and Ian VK5CZ on VK5/SE-015 Bumgunga Hill. A brief return to 2 m to work Paul VK1ATP, testing out an antenna.

Packed up around noon and headed back down, headed home for lunch.

Track log of walk

Track profile. 2.4 Km walk with about a 200 m climb.

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